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The Canadian Elder Standard - Pricing the Cost of Basic Needs for the Canadian Elderly


  • Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald
  • Doug Andrews
  • Robert L. Brown


We determined the after-tax income required to fi nance basic needs for Canadian elders living with different circumstances in terms of age, gender, city of residence, household size, homeowner or renter status, means of transportation, and health status. Using 2001 as our base year, we priced the typical expenses for food, shelter, medical, transportation, miscellaneous basic living items and home-based long-term care for elders living in fi ve Canadian cities. This is the fi rst Canadian study of basic living expenses tailored to elders instead of adults in general, prepared on an absolute rather than a relative basis. We also accounted for an individual’s unique life circumstances and established the varying effect that they have on the cost of basic expenses, particularly for home care. We found that the maximum Guaranteed Income Supple ment and Old Age Security benefi t did not meet the cost of basic needs for an elder living in poor circumstances.

Suggested Citation

  • Bonnie-Jeanne MacDonald & Doug Andrews & Robert L. Brown, 2011. "The Canadian Elder Standard - Pricing the Cost of Basic Needs for the Canadian Elderly," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 286, McMaster University.
  • Handle: RePEc:mcm:sedapp:286

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Buckley, Neil J. & Denton, Frank T. & Leslie Robb, A. & Spencer, Byron G., 2004. "The transition from good to poor health: an econometric study of the older population," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 1013-1034, September.
    2. Matthew Brzozowski & Yuqian Lu, 2006. "Home Cooking, Food Consumption and Food Production among the Unemployed and Retired Households," Social and Economic Dimensions of an Aging Population Research Papers 151, McMaster University.
    3. Michael R. Veall, 2007. "Which Canadian Seniors Are Below the Low-Income Measure?," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 414, McMaster University.
    4. Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley, 2008. "The Adequacy of Retirement Savings: Subjective Survey Reports by Retired Canadians," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 34(s1), pages 95-118, November.
    5. Frank T. Denton & Dean C. Mountain & Byron G. Spencer, 2002. "Age, Retirement and Expenditure Patterns: An Econometric Study of Older Canadian Households," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 375, McMaster University.
    6. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2005. "Changes in Consumption and Activities at Retirement," DNB Working Papers 039, Netherlands Central Bank, Research Department.
    7. G. C. Ruggeri & Rhoda Howard & K. Bluck, 1994. "The Incidence of Low Income among the Elderly," Canadian Public Policy, University of Toronto Press, vol. 20(2), pages 138-151, June.
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    More about this item


    Canadian seniors; poverty measure; economic security; aging-in-place; cost-of-living; absolute measure; home care;

    JEL classification:

    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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